Salvation Rhetorical Analysis
Langston Hughes, in his personal narrative “Salvation,” tells of his experience with being pressured by the adult figures in his life to be “saved from sin” and to “come to Jesus” even though he did not feel saved at all. In his piece written in 1925, Hughes’s purpose is to show his confusion and loss of faith through the need to please his elders and conform to their beliefs. Throughout the excerpt, Hughes conveys a childlike tone in order to highlight his uncertainty about religion and the influence of his elders on him. Hughes’s use of rhetorical devices such as imagery, figurative language, and word choice contribute to further emphasizing his purpose.
Throughout Hughes’s excerpt, he effectively uses the device of imagery in order to highlight the influence of the adults on the uncertain young boy. The use of imagery helps the reader to better understand what he is feeling and seeing. An example of this would be towards the beginning of the piece when Hughes writes, “So I sat there calmly in the hot, crowded church waiting for Jesus to come to me.” This imagery allows the reader to get a feeling for the tense situation surrounding young Hughes. The fact that he was willing to sit calmly in a church that was crowded and hot makes it clear to the reader that Hughes wanted nothing more than to better understand what it meant to be “saved” by Jesus. Another example of imagery that was strategically included was when “the little girls cried. And some of them jumped up and went to Jesus right away. But most of us just sat there.” A clear visual of Hughes sitting with the other confused children on a bench waiting to be “saved” by Jesus calls attention to their uncertainty about what being saved actually meant. If they had full comprehension of what was happening, all of the children would have risen immediately. Lastly, Hughes further incorporates imagery with the use of an auditory technique. Hughes writes, “The...
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